The times in which we live in certainly have changed! Many of us are becoming used to the idea of staying at home more and keeping safe distances from others. Many industries have been affected by recent lockdown restrictions, and that includes online content creators.
Many creators are faced with the same problem and are asking themselves “What should I be putting out now that I can’t go outside?”. It really is a difficult time if your content involves traveling around or being outside in different places; however, this doesn’t mean that you have to be in complete radio silence in regard to your audience. You can get creative with your content and possibly take on a new form of content during this pandemic.
What to post?
The key to knowing what kind of content to upload is knowing your audience. For some creators, such as gameplay channels or review/reaction channels, it will be easy to carry on uploading content as the circumstances of their productions haven’t really changed much. But if your content focuses primarily on moving around and being out of the house, you need to find what else your audience will appreciate right now.
How to serve your audience?
Figuring out what kind of content you want to create is only one step towards adjusting for the pandemic. Another important aspect to take into consideration is how you want to serve your audience.
One option that seems to be a popular choice given the current circumstances is to supply information to audiences. During a pandemic, people would like to be kept informed and up to date on what’s happening around them; as a creator, you can make it your task to let your audience know what is happening in your country or city — especially if you have a wide international audience. Offer them an insight into how you spend your time, how you manage to stay safe, and what your local government might be doing to help everyone stay within the implemented social guidelines.
Keep each other occupied
Another way to offer an escape to your audiences could come in the form of activities. Many people are using their time during lockdown to exercise or stay as healthy as they can. You can get creative and show your audiences various ways to stay fit at home, or other types of exercise such as hiking (if it is safe to do so).
Provide an escape
If your content involved you being outside and amongst other people, you can still give your audience a way to escape their current situations. For example, if you are a food review channel, you can try recreating some of the recipes from restaurants at home. Go over some of your preferred meals and try cooking them. It can be a really great, fun way to engage with your audience and give them content that breaks away from the usual doom and gloom that is probably flooding their screens from elsewhere.
A great way to help your audience escape the current situation is to get creative with a group project. Start a creative process that combines ideas from your viewers and build it over the lockdown. Pick out a topic with your audience and have them create their own responses or contributions towards that topic. You can have regular submissions from your viewers and combine them with your own work. This can include anything from diary styled entries on how they are handling the pandemic to an exquisite corpse-style short film. Not only does this give your audience a way to escape their current situation but it can give them a sense of community. Right now, people are feeling the effects of social isolation, and having a way to be involved with a strong and supportive group can really lift up spirits and let them feel involved in something.
Apart from offering up information and a way to escape the pandemic with your content, you can also give your audience a place where they can be heard, somewhere for them to voice their concerns or maybe look for advice. Listening to your community’s experiences during this pandemic and being a person who can give collective advice to everyone is not only a great way to serve your audience but also a way to make people feel like part of a caring family.
How will you provide your service?
Once you’ve figured out how you want to serve your audience, you have to think about the best way to provide that service.
An important factor to remember with content creation during a pandemic is that the consistency of your uploads still determines how many viewers you get as well as what level of audience interaction and participation in whatever community-based projects you might put out. Uploading consistently will keep your viewers engaged with your content and keep their attention. Any creator with a regular upload pattern not only sees steady viewing numbers but also has a higher chance of attracting new viewers.
Explore new platforms
Another great way in which you can provide your service calls back to the earlier mentioned point of building a community with your audience. Create a space where your audience can connect with you as well as with each other. This could come in the form of a subreddit, Facebook group, Discord, or Twitch Stream. Subreddits are a popular choice by most creators as they allow users to submit their own content or even start discussions. By creating a space for your audience to connect with you, you not only show them that you appreciate their loyalty as viewers, but you also show them that you care enough to give back to them in times like this.
Shift your content
With everything going on in the world right now, you need to keep in mind that some aspects of your content might have to change, too. You might need to adjust the topics that you focus on, which will ultimately determine the response and participation from your audience. Many people will be facing similar issues to yourself; therefore covering those topics will help you connect with them on a more personal and informative level.
But to successfully adjust your topics to fit the needs of your audience, you will once again need to listen to what your audience is looking for in the content that they view. Rather than covering what you usually would in your videos, you might have to look into current events, and discuss certain issues or questions that might be widely felt throughout your community.
But that isn’t to say you have to completely change what you focus on. You can still create the same type of content as you did before, but this time try to express how you and your usual areas of interest have been impacted. For example, if your industry or work was affected by the pandemic and lockdown rules, create a video that addresses that. You can show your audience how your work life has been changed and what you are doing to try and cope with everything. This is a really good way to connect with everyone on a level that speaks to them not just from the perspective of a content creator, but as someone who is dealing with the same issues they are.
Adjust your format
As well as changing up topics to stay relevant to current events, some creators will have noticed that the format of their videos might not be achievable due to the social distancing rules or stay at home orders (depending on which country they live in). This leaves them trying to figure out how to change their format without losing touch with their audience.
One bright spot: many people around the world are experiencing the same problems as you and will, therefore, be understanding about the format of your videos changing. If you were a fitness and wellbeing channel, for example, you can just take your videos from the gym and show your viewers how to workout from home. You won’t have the same settings and abilities as you do when you’re in a large fitness facility, but by being creative at home, you show your audience that they don’t need to feel helpless or out of options just because they are stuck at home.
Look after yourself as well as your channel
There’s an aspect to content creating that many creators often neglect, even without the pandemic, and that is their mental health. Keeping up with a steady upload rate and consistent engagement with your audience can be a strain on you both physically and mentally. Trying to manage a channel and keep track of audience feedback can get overwhelming at times. So make sure you take some time for yourself, take frequent breaks and try to take your mind off of posting for a while.
If it’s possible where you live, go outside, go for a run or a hike and get yourself away from computer screens and cameras for a few hours. If you’re really feeling the stress of content creation during this pandemic, then take a few days off. Although you won’t be able to go on what is considered the conventional form of vacation, taking a few days to do some light work around the house or exercise and clear your head will take a great weight off of your shoulders and make you feel a lot happier.
Taking the time to get out of the house or away from your content for a bit isn’t the only key to keeping your mental health in check during this pandemic. Make sure you have someone to talk to, a support group if possible. Even though you might be focused on giving your viewers the opportunity to be heard, you too need to find that opportunity. Being there to listen to others doesn’t mean sacrificing your own voice and needs.
Be careful of what information you spread
As I mentioned previously in this article, your audience will be looking for information during this time. Many people will be concerned for themselves and loved ones, so they might come to you to be enlightened on the current situation. Your duty as a creator, no matter how big your audience, is to serve accurate information. The number of false articles and misinformed statements floating around on the internet is dangerous, and many people are falling victim to that misinformation and as a result putting themselves and their families at risk.
If you decide to share information regarding the pandemic or the virus causing it, please verify everything you are going to say. Go to multiple sources and make sure that whatever you are going to say to your audience is real and won’t come back as false later. If necessary, cover some information in a video and then direct your audience to the real news source so they can get the full perspective there.
Along with misinformation, there is also widespread sensationalizing of events, scaring the public for no reason. Such unnecessary fear can cause extreme reactions in those who do not understand the situation and result in someone being hurt or even inadvertently getting infected with the virus. Just like with misinformation, causing panic and fear in your audience through the spread of unverified and inaccurate statements will always cause more harm than good. It’s best to avoid this by simply checking with multiple trustworthy news sources and guiding your audience to them instead of voicing opinions that have no grounding in facts or research.
So there it is — a quick and simple guide to staying creative during the pandemic. It’s not impossible to stay connected to your audience and create content that they will love during this pandemic. Listen to your audience and show them that you are there for each other as a community, while remembering to take time for yourself too. We can all hope that this pandemic will be over soon and the world can return back to normal; until then you can be a guiding voice for your audience and help them do their part to ease the effects of the virus.
But above all else, make sure to stay safe, stay home and stay strong.